Don’t dismiss Lamarck
Your January 31 special birthday edition on Darwin (SN: 1/31/09, p. 17) was excellent, but I believe that science has allowed Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s contributions to be overshadowed by Darwin’s. The change that can occur to an organism’s genetic makeup during its own lifetime harks away from Darwin’s slow evolutionary process by chance mutations and argues toward Lamarck’s heritable changes within a lifetime.
Robert Powell, Austin, Texas
Take a vote of biologists today and Darwin will win hands down. But I predict that in 20 years that will change, and the new most influential biologist will be Lamarck. The turning point was the Human Genome Project. It is now becoming clear that a type of formative causation may be real, in spite of the fact that most biologists still gag on the word. Just because one can show that natural selection works does not prove that it is